CBI to Investigate NDMC Corruption Case

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New Delhi : Top government officials, including an Additional Secretary posted at the highest level in the Central government and a former New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Chairman, have come under the CBI scanner in a corruption case.

Among the suspects are two senior IAS officials of the 1980s batches. Details related to them were found the past week during a CBI search in the office of caterer Rakesh Tiwari at the NDMC’s Palika Services Officers Institute in Delhi. The CBI officials seized “hawala” transaction records indicating that senior officials were illegally transferring thousands of dollars abroad.

However, the CBI’s major concern is that a recent amendment to the Prevention of Corruption Act, which was introduced ostensibly for protecting honest government officials, would make it difficult to take forward the probe.

The said amendment makes it mandatory for probe agencies to take prior approval from competent authority before initiating investigations against public servants.

One of the suspected officials had earlier been probed in connection with another case of allegedly causing losses to the exchequer, said an agency source.

The current probe began with the lodging of an FIR alleging that Tiwari, who earlier ran a canteen at the CBI headquarters, had been receiving money through “hawala” from Neeraj Kochar, owner of the Mumbai-based Viraj Profiles, to help get information and favours in a disproportionate-assets case against an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official. He is also an accused in the case.

The FIR alleges that Tiwari was also in regular contact with certain officials of the CBI’s Anti- Corruption Branch-III for the purpose. Five officials of the unit, including those of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Inspector and Sub-Inspector ranks, have been examined so far to determine identities of those involved.

After Tiwari and Kochar were arrested for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy, the CBI carried out searches on their premises. During the first round, the agency seized ₹ 2.86 crore in cash. However, crucial seizures were made from the Chanakyapuri-based NDMC institute’s office occupied by Tiwari.

“Documents related to the ‘Hawala’ transactions involving senior officials were seized, besides 21 Rolex watches, ₹80 lakh cash and jewellery worth ₹1.6 crore from a cupboard of his office,” said an official.

Kochar had allegedly sought favours pertaining to an FIR lodged by the CBI on July 26 last year against IRS official Vivek Batra, then posted with Mumbai’s Income Tax Department, and others. It was alleged that the IRS official had invested his ill-gotten wealth in Kochar’s Viraj Profiles.

Source : The Hindu

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